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The City Council’s Municipal Operations and Property Subcommittee met Tuesday, February 22, 2022 via Zoom. The Subcommittee members are Mayor Anne-Marie Mastraccio, Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy and Councilor Becky Brink.

Airport

Airport Management: Sanford Seacoast Regional Airport Manager Allison Navia detailed her proposal to provide airport management services for one year to the Eastern Slopes Airport Authority in Fryeburg. Ms. Navia said the ESAA has been trying to hire her on a part-time basis for the past two or three years, but only now does she feel that the operation in Sanford is solid enough for her to take on the extra workload. She said she would not be running day-to-day operations in Fryeburg, but instead would be doing a comprehensive review of their leases and policy documents, and creating new policy documents, to help them navigate with state and federal authorities on bigger projects. Their goal is to achieve financial self-sufficiency as our airport has done, and once that is accomplished, to have the town of Fryeburg take over the Airport from the nonprofit organization that runs it now. The Subcommittee members agreed to move the proposal forward to the full City Council at the next meeting.

Public Works

Weight Restrictions: Public Works Director Matt Hill said a prominent member of the community asked him why the City allows heavy vehicles on roads that taxpayers recently spent a lot of money to rebuild. He agreed that fully loaded trucks are detrimental to the life of the roads, and said one dump truck fully loaded with gravel does 9,000 times the damage of a regular size car. He said establishing weight limits will lengthen the lifespan of the roads, but expressed concern about impacting businesses, and how to manage enforcement.

Mayor Mastraccio agreed about the impact of heavy vehicles. She cited Old Mill Rd. and Berwick Rd. as examples of residential streets that have been severely damaged by overweight trucks.

The Subcommittee members all agreed that establishing weight limits on some roads is a good idea, as long as businesses have at least one legal route they can travel so they are not “landlocked.”

City Manager Steve Buck said the City Code gives the Council the ability to designate and post weight limits, on either a permanent or temporary basis. He said enforcement doesn’t have to be a complicated issue with figuring the weights of vehicles. Certain roads could be posted at a weight that allows a truck to use it if empty, but if it is loaded, it would automatically be over limit. This might mean that an empty truck could use the shortest route, while a loaded truck might have to drive a longer route. Exemptions for vehicles like fuel oil delivery trucks would be allowed, and property owners could also apply for temporary permits if they are having work done or materials delivered. Mr. Buck will develop a list of roads and bring it back to the Subcommittee for review.

Fleet Management: Mr. Hill provided an update on the Public Works Department’s fleet management program. The PWD’s fleet of vehicles is valued at about $7 million. The fleet management team, which includes the Property Subcommittee members, the City Manager, the Director and Assistant Director of Public Works, and the Garage Maintenance Supervisor, oversees the vehicle replacement program which works to acquire the best vehicles and equipment at the best price. A list of priorities is continually updated so that if a good used vehicle comes on the market, the team can meet by Zoom to make a quick commitment once due diligence is done, which includes a bumper-to-bumper inspection.

The Department’s current top priorities are a new backhoe, materials screen, sign truck, air compressor and hydroseeder. Vehicles that are no longer needed by the Department are sold or traded, with funds returned to the Capital Improvements budget.

Parks and Recreation

Parks and Facility Rental Fees: Parks and Rec Director Brady Lloyd presented a proposed update to the rental fee structure for athletic fields and other Parks and Rec facilities. He said the price increases would affect private clubs and travel teams, not Sanford/Springvale organizations like Little League and Sanford Youth Soccer. Gateway Park, which is not currently rented out, will be included in the new update. Mayor Mastraccio recommended adding Central Park and Memorial Gym to the list of facilities that can be rented as well. The Gym is still currently School Department property, but she expects it will be returned to the City soon.

Summer Camp Fee Structure: Mr. Lloyd also presented a proposal to increase the fees for the summer camp programs run by the Parks and Rec Department. He said even with an increase, we would still be charging less than half of what other communities charge. He is recommending an increase to $600 for residents and $800 for non-residents for the entire summer, with field trips included. He is hoping to expand camp with the use of Margaret Chase Smith School this year.

Councilor Brink expressed concern that the programming for the camp doesn’t have enough structure for the kids, and asked if it was comparable to what other communities offer. Mr. Lloyd replied that his background was in running summer camps in Standish, which were very structured and very successful. “I plan on bringing that here,” he said.

The rental fee structure and camp fee increases will come before the full City Council for approval.

Parades and Fireworks: Mr. Lloyd said he is planning for full Independence Day activities this year, with fireworks on July 3rd, complete with water ski show and vendors, and a parade on the 4th. Deputy Mayor Herlihy said she has heard the veterans are also planning to bring back their Memorial Day parade this year. The Subcommittee members were all in favor of a return to normal holiday activities this year. No approval by the full Council is required, although the Council will approve road closures as usual when the dates get closer.

Code Enforcement

Renaming/Renumbering of Sherburne St.: Code Enforcement Officer Jamie Cole joined the meeting to give an update on the E911 renaming of Sherburne St. in Sanford. The street is being renumbered at the same time due to new construction. (Sherburne St. in Springvale will keep its name.) Affected residents have been invited to a Zoom meeting March 8 to give their input on a new name. He said he has already received one suggestion, Tanguay St., in honor of a longtime resident. Communications Coordinator Jordan Wilson has developed a flyer to help people with address changes, and she will be making that information available online as well. This is expected to be the first of many street renamings, as the City seeks to become compliant with the nationwide E911 system by eliminating duplicate names like the Country Club Roads and Grammars.

Community Development

Grant Opportunity: Community Development Director Ian Houseal reviewed a proposed request for a Community Resilience Partnership grant from the state. The grants are targeted to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing resiliency to extreme weather and climate change impacts. If the City applies and is awarded the $50,000 grant, he recommends it be used to beef up the general assistance discretionary fund (known as the Imelda Fund) to assist with insulation and weatherization in cooperation with York County Community Action’s home repair program. The grant application will come before the full Council and public input is encouraged.

Midtown Mall: Mr. Houseal presented historical data on the City’s costs to maintain and operate the public parking lot at the Midtown Mall, including contracted labor and materials for snow plowing (but not snow removal), and the cost of electricity for the lighting. The total is approximately $21,000 per year. He presented a proposal for a maintenance district for the properties that receive this additional benefit, which are the building that houses the DHHS office, and the building that houses the Family Dollar store. With respect to the public use of the parking lot, he proposed a three-way split of these costs, to begin at the time the district is put into effect, with the two property owners each being assessed for a third of the cost. He said the City’s legal counsel has approved the plan. There will be a public hearing on the proposal, probably in April, before the City Council votes on it. If approved, the municipal budget would be reduced by the amount assessed to the two property owners.

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